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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  October 29, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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bank of america announced its own $5 bank fee but now they considered changes in the policy. i'm don lemon at the cnn world headquarters in atlanta. see you back here in one hour. the republican presidential candidates have only themselves to blame for a series of recent stumbles in the 2012 campaign. we're looking at some of the errors. and i'll talk to candidate john huntsman. herman cain is standing behind his chief of staff and estranged campaign ad. this hour, the smoking controversy that keeps burning. and millions of tons of debris floating in the pacific and heading towards the united states. could tvs and boats wash up ashore any time soon? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> he skipped the last republican presidential debate in las vegas saying he wanted to focus in on the first of the
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nation primary state of new hampshire. but former utah governor john huntsman is trailing in that critical state while rival mitt romney is enjoying a solid lead. john huntsman is joining us from salt lake city. governor, thanks very much for coming in. >> thank you, wolf. it's an honor to be with you. >> let's talk about mitt romney a little bit. george will, the conservative columnist writing in an upcoming edition of "the washington post" says this about mitt romney. he says, "romney, supposedly the republican most lektable next november, is a recidivist reviser of his principles who is not only becoming less electable, he might endanger gop chances of capturing the senate. republicans may have found their michael dukakis, a tech know democratic massachusetts governor who takes his bearings from data." do you agree with george will on that? >> well, those are pretty tough words, wolf. all i can say is this is a time
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when this nation wants leadership. we've been looking for leadership for some time in the white house. we haven't found it. this is when the candidates need to stand up and show a little bit of leadership. you can't be a perfectly lubricated weather vane on the important issues of the day whether it's libya, whether it's the debt ceiling, whether it's the discussion around the bill in ohio where governor romney has been missing in action in terms of showing any kind of leadership. i do believe that the electorate this go around will be looking for clearly defined presidential leadership. i'm not sure that we're seeing it. we're putting out our own economic proposals. next week i'll have an energy speech that i'll be giving in new hampshire. we're calling for clear cut leadership positions for the united states to be taking us back on our feet. and it will secure the american century for the people of the united states. >> so when you say it's it's a perfecy lubricated weather
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vein or when george will says he is a recidivist reviser, basically you're saying tez a flip-flopper on some of the most important issues. >> you don't get any more important than life. when you have an he pif any like this that is highly political. >> you're talking about abortion rights for women. what is your exact position on abortion rights for women? are there any exceptions from your standpoint for a woman getting an abortion? >> incest, rape, and the life of the mother are the exceptions that i can live with. >> so you're basically ignoring iowa and throwing all your eggs into the basket. our latest poll has romney way ahead. he's almost living there. he has a second home there. he's a 40% cain, 12%.
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you're at 6%. but herman cain, he's intriguing. he basically spent very little time in new hampshire or iowa for that matter. but he's doing pretty well in both of those states, even better in iowa. and he comes up with these crazy ads, including this one. watch. ♪ we can take this country back america ♪ ♪ i am america one vote ♪ >> that's his chief of staff who had a little puff of a cigarette there. but he's a 13%. you're at 6% in new hampshire. you spent a lot of time there. he has it. why is he doing so well? >> well, oftentimes can you spike for the moment. you're the flavor of the week or the flavor of the month. i remember when governor perry was at 20% in new hampshire. he came in with great fanfare. now he's in the low single digits. we're just trying a steady,
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gradual substantive rise in new hampshire. based upon real support, based upon 80 events that we have done so far. wolf, we did a telephone town hall meeting yesterday. we had 3,000 people on the line. our town hall meetings are packed these days. i say we've got a couple of very, very important months ahead in new hampshire. and the vibe that i'm getting, the fwway in which we're connecting or manufacturing muscle in this country is resonating with the all important people in the first primary state would you feel comfortable if herman cain was the presidential nominee? >> i think herman cain is an outstanding person. i've gotten to know him. he's a friend. he has a lot of the right prerequisites for understanding how the free market works. beyond that, that's why the early primaries are so very, very important. ultimately, the people get to decide. whoever they decide is the nominee for my party, i will stand behind that. >> so you would feel comfortable
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if herman cain on national security issues because he stumbled on many of the questions so far. you feel comfortable? >> well, as i say, anyone who gets through this very rigorous primary process, i think our chances are excellent for getting through this primary process. i'm going to stand behind. they deserve it because it's not an easy process to endure. you've got to win over the will of the people. by the end of the process, you're up to speed with the things that matter. >> the economy is still struggling. 2.5% growth in the last quarter. the stock markets are doing well, above 12,000. it was 6,500, 7,000 when president obama took office. do you see a trend that a double dip recession now is unlikely and things are at least beginning to move in the right direction? >> i think we're going to muddle
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along until we put forward bold structures that are standing in the way of knocking the ball off the cover of our economic growth. when i say that, i look at the jobs proposal package put forward by the president. and it amounts to half steps and half measures. it's going to be incomplete. it's going to be a temporary fix. we need a long-term fix. and that means tax reform. that means regulatory reform and really hitting on the issues that investor community is looking at being cleaned up, like health care reform and obama care and dodd frank. insuring we can begin to build manufacturing plants and power plants in this nation that will be able to fuel our manufacturing revival. it can be done. until you get to the structural fixes, you're not going to have the confidence in the innovator class, in the entrepreneurial class, in the investor class. indeed in the global -- in the global economy to be able to get this -- to be able to get this country moving in a direction that is long term sustainable.
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>> we're almost out of time. very quickly here. you're the former u.s. ambassador to china. china played a very important role in the u.s. economy. they have a lot of u.s. debt. most recently this week they played a significant role helping the europeans bail out greece and some of that enormous debt crisis there. our viewers in china are watching. we have a lot of viewers in china as you know having lived in beijing. say something to the people in china in mandrin right now and then translate it for us. what you would say to them given this opportunity? [ speaking in mandrin ] >> i basically said this is the most important relationship in the world today. it is incumbent upon the leadership in both countries in order continue to sure the economic and security of not only our two countries but the region and the world as well. having a president who can
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actually understand those issues and who knows intimately well are most significant economic challenge and opportunity as well as our most significant security challenge would be a great thing to have in the white house, wolf. >> governor, thanks very much for coming in. you're mandrin is pretty good. i must say. not that i understood what you said. it sounded pretty good. >> thank you, wolf. it's a pleasure to be with you. >> john huntsman, the former governor of utah, former ambassador to china and now wants to be the republican presidential nominee. thank you. mitt romney is the latest republican presidential conditioned date to make an parent mistake in the glare of the national spotlight. or was it something more calculated? cnn's joe johns is here in "the situation room." he's got some details. what's going on with mitt romney? >> months and months to go. it's already been a long race, even for some candidates who have been running just a short time. and mitt romney's recent slipup, if it was a slipup, just goes to show that into every campaign a little rain must fall.
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if republicans didn't like mitt romney's position on the union busting proposal in ohio, all they had to do is wait one day before he changed it. on tuesday, outside cincinnati when asked if he supports the ballot issue to restrict collective bargaining being pushed by the state's republican governor, romney gave the noncommittal answer even though he just answered a phone bank where conservative callers were selling the measure to the public. >> i'm not speaking about the particular ballot issues. those are under the people of ohio. i certainly support the effort of the governor to reign in the scale of government. so i'm not terribly familiar with it. >> reporter: but by the next day, romney had a different answer. >> oh, i'm sorry if i created any confusion in that regard. i fully support governor kasich's question two in ohio. what i was referring to is i know there are other ballot questions there in ohio. i wasn't taking a position on those. >> reporter: confusion, perhaps. among those other ballot questions, one would ban government from forcing people
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to buy health insurance which might give pause to a health care reformer like romney. raising the question whether what happened was a mistake or a political tactic. >> he walked into a call center for these two ballot initiatives and appeared to either not know what these ballot initiatives were about or intentionally tried to dodge them to kind of protect his brand for general election. so it's one or the other. >> reporter: if it was a mistake, romney is not alone among the contenders these days. rick perry's latest goof is stepping all over the big flat tax proposal rollout with off the cuff remarks with questions about president obama's birthplace. >> it's fun to poke at him a little bit and say hey, how about -- let's see your grades and birth certificate. >> then there was the here is strangeness of herman cain's latest ad showing his chief of staff singing the candidates praises and puffing a cigarette. author john avalon sees the ad
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as harmless but not some of the other mistakes. >> it's worse reflection on whether not only if that makes the candidates look bad, maybe makes the process look bad but makes our country look bad. >> interesting thing about the cain ad. it locked tens of thousands of views on his website. a lot of people don't understand it. but he certainly cultivated an image of an unorthodox candidate and that ad only plays into it, wolf. >> it certainly does. it continues to play on and on -- more than a million hits on youtuba lone for that ad. muammar gadhafi buried in secret and a new vow by libya's government to prosecute the man who allegedly killed him. and fears that iran's leaders have planted spies right here in washington, d.c. we're digging deeper on a congressman's call to expel iranian officials from this country. [ male announcer ] drinking a smoothie with no vegetable nutrition?
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who wants a picture with flo? i do! i do! do you mind? got to make sure this is -- oh. uh... okay. everybody say "awkward." protecting your family fun. now, that's progressive. call or click today. the obama administration is pushing back against the call to expel iranian officials from the united states. the homeland security committee chairman peter king outlined his dramatic proposal right here in "the situation room" and we're taking a closer look at his concerns about alleged iranian spies. brian todd is working the story. what you are finding out? >> congressman king says he expects to be joined in the call by most republicans on the house homeland security committee. the congressman is now applying intense pressure to a group of iranians working on behalf of their government on u.s. soil.
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strong fallout from the plot to anass nature saudi arabia's ambassador to the u.s. iran has spies in america specifically, he says, people who work at iran's mission to the u.n. and iran's interintersection in washington. >> to me, we should get rid of all of them or most of them and send a clear signal. >> king says they all o could be expelled on the suspicion of spying. he knows the iranians in those offices he suspects of spying but the identities are classified. king didn't give specific information tying them to the alleged saudi assassination plot. but he says some of those people are tied to iranian intelligence and that people in those offices have in the past been id'd as members of the kuts force, a shadowy military unit. eric o'neal is the former fbi investigator who took down russian spy robert hanson, a case dramatized in the hollywood film "breech." i asked o'neal about the allegation that the plotters wanted to bomb the ambassador at a restaurant.
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>> could someone at their intersection in d.c. maybe give the information to the iranian that's the ambassador wanted to go to a certain restaurant or was frequenting that restaurant? >> that is possible. that is the sort of actionable intelligence that a spy, that is gold to a spy. >> reporter: o'neal says by day the intersection employees may be processing visas, but in their spare time, he says, they could be recruiting sources. we called and eemd the intersection and then went over there. this is the iranian intersection here in washington. it works through the pakistani emphasis. the pakistanies say they don't control what happens here. they just pass messages to and from both governments to each other. we're going to go in here and see if anybody wants to talk to us to respond to congressman king's comments. i'm met at the door. >> hi. i'm brian todd from cnn. i'm recording thisment we're rolling. i wanted see if mr. shiraz is here? >> no. >> can they come and speak to me? >> they're not available. >> when i call back, i'm told that all that is done there is
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counselor work. they did not respond to our calls and e-mail asking for response to congressman king. but iranian officials have vehemently denied any role in trying to assassinate the saudi ambassador. his country never had any intent to hurt saudi arabia. even if they did, they would never do that inside the united states. >> how many iranian officials work in new york and wash? >> there are 39 diplomats at the u.n. and 38 people who you says are not accredited diplomats at the intersection here in washington. king believes that the united states can expel even the diplomats at the u.n. if they are suspected of spying because he says they've done this before. he says the bush administration did that a few years back when they caught some people at the u.n. surveilling the new york subways and tunnels. he believes they can do that. >> and the u.s. government position is that the u.s. has
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responsibilities as the host country for the u.n. >> there's a bit of back and forth there. we're not sure who is correct. there is disagreement there. >> thank you. >> the new libyan government is under intense pressure to investigate the death of mow march gadhafi. dan rivers is in tripoli. a warning, you may find video in this report to be disturbing. >> ever since these disturbing images emerged on the day gadhafi was killed, questions have loomd about exactly what happened. circumstantial evidence has grown that muammar gadhafi was not killed in the crossfire. especially since this video surfaced the young man claiming to have shot gadhafi in the head with another insisting he witnessed the murder. now amid growing international pressure, the transitional government has said it will prosecute the man responsible if it can prove his guilt. >> what's going to happen to that young man?
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>> we ask him, there is an investigation. he said there's an investigation if we found this saudi specialist this story is true. so the emphasis is going to take action. there is an investigation. we would like to know who and why and how. >> reporter: bat in the caut in there is little sympathy with putting his killer on trial. >> i don't think he should be on trial. we asked him for this disallusion. we hope that we catch him alive. but if he's dead, that's okay. that man killed, you know, hundreds of people in this area. we're relieved that he's dead. and the man who killed him, i don't care about him. >> and that means he is a criminal. did a criminal, a terrorist, he
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did this. if he did this to me, i would have killed him. >> you would do it? >> absolutely. >> so for the young man that killed him, what do you think should happen to him? >> nothing. nothing. >> nothing? >> nothing. >> i'm glad that he's dead. everybody glad. >> reporter: and that's the problem. the transitional government is under a lot of international pressure to properly investigate gadhafi's death. but domestically, there is very little appetite to put a libyan on trial for killing the man who so terrorized this country. dan river, cnn, tripoli. >> a shocking revelation from the wife of bernie madoff. couples of the suicide pact. plus, millions of tons of debris from japan's tsunami heading to the u.s. west coast. these dogs wake up too early!
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shocking revelations about bernie madoff now in prison for running the largest ponzy scheme in u.s. history. his wife tells cbs's 60 minutes the couple attempted suicide as the scandal was unfolding. cnn national correspond susan candiotti has details. >> i think anything that comes out of their mouth is self-serving and are lies. >> richard and cynthia friedman lost their life savings to bernie madoff, so did eileen camp. so when they heard ruth madoff talk about a failed suicide attempt in a new "60 minutes" interview -- >> we decided to kill ourselves because it was -- it was so horrendous what was happening. we had terrible phone calls, hate mail. >> do you believe it? >> i don't believe it. if it's a madoff, can you not trust anything they say. >> assuming that she's telling the truth about taking pills, do
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you feel badly about that? >> i just can't assume it. i think anything that they say is extremely self-serving. ruth has been quoted in the past saying she's very concerned about the victims and she feels awful and she feels terribly -- well why do we open the wound three years later? >> reporter: victims scoff at barbara walters zriction of her bernie madoff interview. he says he's happy in prison because he feels safe there. >> for 16 years he has lived in fear that he was going to be found out and now he's not in control of his life. and so he is happier there than he was on the outside. >> i was very much against sending him to a maximum security prison because i felt that would be revenge and not justice. but he's really just snubbing his nose. he's thumbing his nose at the system. he's thumbing his nose at us. >> and there is stephanie madoff whose husband mark committed suicide last year, depressed over his father's crime. >> if i saw bernie madoff right
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now, i would tell him that i hold him fully responsible for killing my husband and i'd spit in his face. >> so every time you hear an interview, every time you read an article involving an interview, what goes through your mind? >> i have a visceral reaction. i really feel sick to my stomach. >> i wish we could get that kind of publicity so people understand who the victims are. they're every day people. >> you're hearing people ask them a lot of questions. do you have any questions that remain in your mind that you'd like to ask them? >> if i knew that bernie madoff would actually tell the truth for a change, i would say why? how? and who helped you? >> for victims there are many questions they feel will never be fully answered. prosecutors have not charged madoff's children nor his wife. she is living in a barrowed home in south florida.
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susan candiotti, cnn, new york. other news we're following, some are calling them radical ideas by the catholic church to fix the economic crisis. our own lisa sylvester reports. >> reporter: occupy wall street protesters carried a golden calf named greed to make think point. the growing gap between the rich and the poor. >> my biggest beef is the growing economic disparity. i have a problem with it. i feel we have a capitalist system that is based around hoarding wealth instead of dispersing it and helping the free market grow. >> the division between the haves and have knots is central to the catholic church. now the vatican is picking up on the momentum and speaking out against what it calls the adoll triof the market. for the first time the vatican outlined as a moral fix for the problem of poverty. a proposal to create a new financial authority including a
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global central bank and a new tax on global financial transactions. >> globalization has made us all in the same boat. and we're going to either sink together or we're going to prosper together. we're only going to do that if we work together as a world community to deal with these issues. >> reporter: the vatican says the international monetary fund has lost the ability to stabilize the world financial system and points to the current debt crisis in europe and the lingering effects of a global recession. but added regulation and centralizing global authority, they counter that will exacerbate the problems and put more power in the hands of a wealthy few. >> the attitude that you were sort of insulating this further from public account act at the individual countries, actually increases leverage of the largest financial institutions have in this game. they'll be the ones at the table. >> father thomas says this is meant to be a moral blueprint, a first draft to be tweaked by
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economists and politicians. like the occupy wall street protesters, the vatican hopes to draw attention to the issue of poverty and offer a vision where principles trump profits. father reese with georgetown's woodstock theological center acknowledges the proposals are to the very far left and the pope advocates in fact redistribution of wealth. well that's all a really tough sell. the vatican believes it is important still to have a conversation about what it calls a crisis of morality. lisa sylvester, cnn, washington. some are calling this the age of volatility in american politics. will the 2012 election be different? we'll talk about the ups and downs in the republican field. and the strange herman cain campaign video. that's the butt of jokes. ♪
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in a presidential race, rick perry's campaign is suggesting he may skip some of the upcoming republican debates after a
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number of widely bad performances. let's talk about this with our senior political analyst ron brownstein of the national journal. thanks very much for coming in. before i get to the did you hear john huntsman call mitt romney a well lubricated weather vane? >> yes. i did. i think that's a line he's clearly been thinking about for quite some time. and obviously in new hampshire romney is the person he's got to beat or at least come in a very close second to. so i think we're going to hear more of those attacks. >> i guess that is the flip-flopper. >> welcome a well lubricated weather vein. >> that's a bumper sticker. >> this is the case if romney is the nominee, you'll seat arguments made against him reappearing in democratic ads next fall. >> rick perry has a lot of issues out. there is a lot of trouble in this racement he has to do a lot better in the debates. now he's suggesting at least
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according to the communications director, he may skip some of the debates. >> and that puzzles me, actually. the way he introduced himself to republican voters is by doing poorly in debates. if you withdraw from them, that's essentially saying i'm not a very good debater. i can't compete against mitt m romney or president obama. >> it's understandable they want to take control. the debates are driving the race. they really are overwhelming everything else. they amount to a forum of public financing for the candidates. it's hard to imagine misch i will bachmann and newt gingrich and herm and cane earlier and rick santorum would be able to be as big a factor in the race as they are without the debates. and they have -- you know, perry has money. romney has money. they want this race to be fought on other terrain than simply showing up for a debate. >> it's a bad decision for perry. >> everybody knows iowa, new hampshire, south carolina, florida. but florida could be a critical
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state. our cnn poll registered republicans romney right now at 30%. herman cain, 18%. gingrich and perry with 9%. ron paul 6%. everybody else in low, low single digits. romney is doing very well. >> yes, he is. what is interesting is the cane number. because two weeks ago in florida there was an nbc poll. and romney was tide. he is 12 points up. and what you see for perry is terrible. 9%. perry has lost with jewish voter. romney does three times as well with seniors as perry. >> i think what's really important about the polls you put out this week from iowa, new hampshire, south carolina and florida is the patterns are very consistent from state to state in how the different voters are aligning. and it's consistent in what we're seeing in the national polls. if you look among the portion of the party you do not identify with the tea party, mitt romney is solidifying that vote. he leads among double digits in
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all four states in voters who don't identify with the tea party. similarly among voters who are not he vevangelical cyst yalhri he has a substantial lead. own the tea party side, very different. he's not ahead anywhere except new hampshire. but you're seeing at least the other side the party move toward him consistently. >> i was the first contest. look at these numbers. romney is ahead. but a statistical tie if you look at the plus or minus samplisa sampli sampling, romney 24%, cain 1%. gingrich and perry at 10%. herman cain is doing remarkably well in iowa. >> he is. >> it's interesting. mitt romney is winning according to this poll even though he's not sure he's going to compete there. >> that's the big question. first of all, he's actually doing better than he was doing with evangelicals in iowa. the question of whether he is going to run or compete is interesting because you talk to
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people in the romney campaign and they smile broadly at you. and i think right now they believe that he could actually win iowa although they don't want to say it. >> iowa is the microcosm of the republican race in general. you have a big chunk of the party, especially the conservative side that is so resistant to romney. if they can't unify around a single candidate, he may be able to win this without getting a majority of the party. only got 25% in iowa last time. that's about where he is now. >> he spends a lot of money. >> you might not need that much more to win if the more conservative 60% of the vote is he val van gellical. romney might be able to win iowa with a low number. if does he that, it's very difficult. >> and if he comes in as a close second, he can spin it as a win. i think we're going to see him competing in iowa. >> the herman cain add, the smoking ad, let me remind some of the viewers who may not be familiar with it. here's a little clip. >> we can take this country back. ♪ i am america
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one voice, united we stand ♪ ♪ i am america >> herman cain defended his chief of staff for that ad saying nothing wrong with it. >> outsider status that cain has and reinforced by an ad like this is one of the five-hour energy drinks. it gives you a big boost but there is often a crash at the end. this reinforces the general narrative of his campaign. he is not a typical politician. he is from outside of the system. that is appealing to a lot of republicans. but it also creates a ceiling as well. the more these things happen, the smaller ultimately the universe will be. >> a lot of people watched that ad. >> it got a lot of free publicity. it's unserious and silly. and the guy is standing there smoking a cigarette, whatever that means. and there's this grin that comes across cain's face. it leaves people scratching their heads and asking the question, okay, is this a serious campaign for the presidency or not?
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what's the message here? if you don't know what the message is, maybe the candidate is not serious. >> you have a cover story entitled the age of volatility. it is a volatile political environment right now. but give us the headline. >> from 1994 to 2004 wrp in trench warfare with little movement from either side. either party gained nine or ten seats. the national popular vote split evenly in the house elections and the presidential elections. but since 2004, we have seen the public careening wildly towards the democrats in '06 and then more in '08 and 2010. the biggest gain for republicans for either party since 1938. essentially what we have is neither party now has a stable majority of public support and for the last roughly 25 or 30% of independent voters, the parties are not producing the kinds of results that will allow them to kind of solidify. so the conclusion of the story is the main advice for whatever comes out on top in 2012 will be tlae words, don't unpack everything.
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>> right. and ron wrote about this in his piece and i agree. the independent voters have become so much more important because you have a majority at the public now saying that they don't identify with each party. and so those voters hold the key. and that's what makes it so volatile. some of them are republican, some of them are democratic bufbut they don't like the parties. >> and they feel like they're not getting results from the political system. that is a powerful force of volatility. >> swing voters out there. thank you very much. many wounded protesters are too squared to get treatment in sear yachlt we're learning about allegations of torture and abuse in syrian state hospitals. boats, furnish tours and tvs have floating in the pacific ocean towards the united states. we're tracking the tons of debris from the japanese tsunami.
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we're getting a disturbing window into the tactics of the regime. arwa damon has a new report on the findings of amnesty international. viewers should be warned there is graphic video. >> reporter: these are videos that cnn on tanl showing that how doctors are trying to save lives, operating secret underground clinics. wounded demonstrators are too afraid to go to government hospitals. which amnesty international says the syrian government has turned into oppression. by skype we reached a doctor who says he used to work in a government hospital. he tells us some of his own colleagues collaborated with security forces, abusing the
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wounding. >> beat them, don't give them water, don't give them antibiotics. sometimes even if he will die. they just put him to be alive, to survive for one or two days to know something information from them. >> reporter: in recent weeks, violence has intensified. the doctor set up his own secret clinic, treating he said on average, four to ten patients a day. but many die. >> i have patients here from gun bullets and from rpg. built i can't do anything here, just a small emergency hearing because i haven't here pressure. i haven't anesthesia. so what i can do? nothing? >> reporter: he set up a field hospital.
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over the summer on a brief trip to syria, we broke away from our government minders and saw one of the clinics in damascus. nothing more than a tiny room with barely the basics. >> i saw a lot of blood, a lot of shouting. a lot of pain. >> reporter: the doctor we met took me to see this 17-year-old boy, partially paralyzed because of a lack of proper equipment to detect a blood clot next to his spinal cord. this is the doctor's face book page. his network is called the da mat cuss doctors. they have listed on it the names of medication professions who they say have gone missing. activists claim that dozens of them have been detained. >> we believe still that the international community, the security council as the most senior body at the head of this community must refer the situation to the international criminal court. the uses there have been so serious that we believe them to be crimes against humanity. >> reporter: the syrian government continues to deny all
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allegations of abuse at government hospitals and says it treats everyone equally. arwa damon, cnn, beirut. wreckage of countless lives floating at sea. huge piles of debris from japan's tooum. cou tsunami. could they wind up on american shores? plus, jeannie moos looks at herman cain's bizarre campaign ad that is now a viral video.
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when a giant wall of water slammed into japan in march, it killed thousands of people, flattened homes across the northeast coast. the water receded carrying countless pieces of lives out to sea including boat, registered to a japan 93 owner and found floating all of a sudden in the middle of the pacific. chad myers is chak millions of tons of all this debris that is out there somewhere. chad, what do we know about the debris and is it heading toward the united states? >> it sure is. and hawaii will take a double hit. but it's stuff like this. a floating building. refrigerators parts of cars floating, propane tanks, all floating across the pacific. all thought to probably be arriving in about three to five years. that appears to be a little bit
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quicker now. and why? why would it be quicker? the model that's the researcher at the university of hawaii got into why looking at debris that was not floating above the water. like styrofoam or propane tanks or refrigerator that's would float. they're thinking about stuff that sits in the water and go with the current. this stuff is getting blown along faster and eventually will become a hazard to navigation around hawaii. and the entire western part of the united states. we're talking five to 20 million tons of stuff. this is all the lives that were taken from these people. the lives, their lyely hood, their home, their boats. this is what they found off midway island. they didn't speck to their to arrive for another three months. why? because it was above the water line and the wind was blowing it faster. so people are trying to get this debris out but there is so much stuff in the water. we'll have this on our shoresle many years. 15 or 20 years before this go away and boating and
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recreational boating in the pacific may become a little bit of a hazard and even into the hazards of trying to surf in hawaii when you have a refrigerator floating in front of you. >> do we know for sure, chad, that the debris that's throughout in the pacific, this junk that's throughout is actually from japan? or just junk collected in the ocean, if you will? >> well, if you go walk along the beaches of oregon, washington to california, you see stuff washed up from japan. china, thailand all the time. but we know that this blob of stuff is from japan. the boats had. are floating literally have fukushima on the sides of them. so the boats on top being identified as from those areas around where the tsunami hit. yes, we know this stuff is from japan for sure. >> and you say originally they thought three to four years it could take for debris to reach the united states but now it's speeding up. >> take a look at this. think of a boat. if a boat was national in the water, it would be a very slow boat. this is not a boat. this is not flat in the water.
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this is like a sail. so now when the wind hits this sail, and not only this building probably sunk already by now. but other thing are floating above the water and all that wind is pushing it much faster than the current. so the speed, the researchers in hawaii it would be twice as fast now. by 2013 and into hawaii sometime early next year. >> chad, thanks very much. we'll stay on top of this story together with you. up next, we can't get enough of it. jeanne moos has more on the herman cain ad. meineke's personal pricing on brakes.
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i tell you what i can spend. i do my best to make it work. i'm back on the road safely. and i saved you money on brakes. that's personal pricing. herman cain's smoking campaign commercial is a comedian's dream. jeanne moos hands out the award for best parody. >> reporter: suddenly everybody is pretending to smoke. it's all because this man, herman cain's chief of staff -- >> we can take this country back. >> reporter: one little drag in a campaign ad. >> that's weird, right? >> i'm not the only one that smokes in america, for god's sake. >> reporter: now everyone is inhailing his smoke will one parody even paraphrases charlie
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sheen. ♪ i'm on a drug and it's called herman cain ♪ >> herman cain has tiger blood. >> reporter: that's from a left leaning political group in south carolina asking herman cain, what are you smoking? not since the famous witch ad -- >> i'm not a witch. >> reporter: have you seen a political spot so par i had. so we thought we would hand out the awards to some of the our favorites. we award one measly smoke ring to the letterman show for its video parody. >> chief economic adviser for herman cain. >> reporter: and for all those who replaced the cigarette with booze, we award two smoke rings. our three smoke ring award go to conan's show for most imaginative prop. we award jimmy kimmel and his
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crew four smoke rings for inventy voiceover. >> i'm herman cain. and i approve cigarettes. if that doesn't make me sound crazy, check out this smile. >> reporter: herman cain's smile that takes eight seconds to develop promptedstein colbert to challenge cain to a slow smile contest. >> go! colbert managed to stretch his smile 25 seconds. the coveted five smoke ring award goes to the colonel bert report for replacing smoking with sniffing. >> i'm herman cain's personal assistant. we hope you share our vision. >> reporter: by the way, we would like to bestow a shortened lifetime achievement award to the human smoke machine who provided us with our smoke

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